A young European boy living in San Francisco is reluctant to marry his long-term girlfriend because he wants to travel around the world first. His wealthy uncle agrees to send him on a ... See full summary »
The leader of a right-wing German political party discovers that an illiterate woodcarver is actually the son of Adolf Hitler. He kidnaps the young man from a mental institution and ... See full summary »
An American writer goes to a remote Welsh manor on a twenty thousand dollar bet: can he write a classic novel like "Wuthering Heights" in twenty-four hours? Upon his arrival, however, the ... See full summary »
Wilbur Gray, a horror writer, has stumbled upon a terrible secret, that cats are supernatural creatures who really call the shots. In a desperate attempt to get others to believe him, Wilbur spews three tales of feline horror.
Two writers and their girlfriends visit the castle of an actor who specializes in playing vampire roles. As the night progresses, they begin to wonder if the man is an actor playing a vampire, or a vampire playing an actor.
A travelling circus in 19th century France adopts and showcases a feral "wolf boy", who grows into adulthood only to kill the one-man band. He runs off to Paris, where he develops a jealous... See full summary »
Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) has retired. But when Alec MacDonald (Gordon Jackson) asks him to take on another case, he says yes. There have been some mysterious murders, and there are ... See full summary »
A former Priest named Dr. Lawrence harbors a dark and horrible secret in his attic. The locked room serves as a prison cell for his crazed, cannibalistic adult son, who acquired his savage ... See full summary »
1981's "Black Jack" was the last of a quartet of European titles made by Peter Cushing just after "Star Wars" that virtually disappeared from view at the time of filming, unable to find distribution outside their respective territories. "Batteflag" aka "The Standard," "Son of Hitler," and "A Touch of the Sun" aka "No Secrets!" all had something besides Cushing in common, they were all vanity projects for the filmmakers, holding little appeal elsewhere. In the case of "Black Jack" aka "Asalto al Casino," Max H. Boulois served as writer/director, and played the awful 'Afro-rock' singer Dynamite Duke, even donning a Darth Vader disguise in a nod to Cushing's recent success as Grand Moff Tarkin (this was the second of his three films as small time auteur, preceded by "Big Game" and followed by "Black Commando," with Tony Curtis!). Poorly dubbed into English, sporting terrible songs and a very loud, abrasive soundtrack, it's only the actors who can keep it afloat, with very little to work with. Storywise, it's an overlong, painfully predictable heist picture, orchestrated by wealthy Sir Thomas Bedford (Cushing), owner of a stud farm outside London, who believes that security overseas is easier to pierce than it is in Las Vegas. Choosing a casino in Santander, on the Northern coast of Spain, for quick access to international waters, Bedford insists on an inside job, with Dynamite Duke as willing accomplice, unaware of the presence of a vicious quartet of professional killers intending to do the same, taking hostages when the police quickly become involved. French starlet Claudine Auget (Domino in "Thunderball") is totally wasted as Duke's publicist (despite second billing), while Brian Murphy, British star of "George and Mildred," is in familiar form as the wily Archibald, earning his share of riches at the slot machines. The police are led by Mexican star Hugo Stiglitz, the film's true lead in terms of screen time, with Eduardo Fajardo and Andres Resino, both from 1972's "The Murder Mansion," as various security chiefs. From Paul Naschy's "Frankenstein's Bloody Terror" is Julian Ugarte, well cast as fashion designer Julian Ugarte, taken hostage along with George Rigaud's Dr. Paringo, previously seen opposite Peter Cushing in 1972's "Horror Express." Closing out a screen career that began in 1931, Antonio Vilar gets special billing as renowned Dr. Vilas, who reveals himself to the kidnappers as a wanted Nazi war criminal. Mercilessly dragged out to 97 minutes, Peter Cushing is only around for just under eight, thoroughly professional as expected, dapper, cool and calm at all times, and fortunately allowed to dub his own voice. An interesting sidelight is that he replaced Donald Pleasence as Bedford; Cushing was director John Carpenter's first choice to play Dr. Sam Loomis in his classic "Halloween," his agent turning it down without ever notifying his client (that would have been such a feather in his cap). This vanity project for French-based, ultra obscure director-writer-star Max H. Boulois understandably sank without a trace, as he finally disappeared from the scene by 1987, thereafter devoting his time to journalism and politics.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this